Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/02/08

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: [Leica] <no subject>
From: Martin Howard <>
Date: Thu, 08 Feb 2001 22:33:02 -0500

Juan Buhler recently admitted to Leicalust, thinking that he would be able
to survive the condition without succumbing to the full-blown symptoms.  How
sadly mistaken he is.  He wrote:

> Anyone selling a beat-up, working non TTL black M6?

You see M6 classics in EX/EX+ condition for around $1100-$1300 these days.
They seem to hold pretty stable around there.

> Otherwise, does anyone have any tips on how to avoid falling into
> an endless spiral of expensive body and lens purchasing?

That is impossible.  You will spent more than you bargained or thought
possible on Leica lenses.  You will initially get one body and one lens (one
of 35mm/50mm/90mm).  Then you will rationalize that a useful minimum kit
really consists of all three lenses (35mm/50mm/90mm).  In the meantime, you
may acquire one or more of the new Cosina LTM lenses just for fun, but they
don't really count.

Having acquired all three, you'll notice that (a) that you miss your best
shots when you are changing lenses, (b) changing lenses is cumbersome, (c)
there are different bodies with different viewfinder magnifications and that
you really do need that higher mag VF to get the most out of your 90mm lens.
So, you will buy a second body.  In the meantime you may have picked up a
Bessa-L or an old IIIc for some of those LTM lenses, but they don't really

Suddenly, you'll start to notice how some of the most fabulous looking
photographs are taken with the 50mm f/1.0 Noctilux, the 75mm f/1.4 Summilux,
or the 35mm f/1.4 ASPH.  You'll start to notice that different Leica lenses
of the same focal length have different imaging characteristics and you'll
use this to justify the purchase of your forth 50mm lens and your third
35mm.  Of course, you'll need something to carry this stuff in, but don't
want to advertize that you're carrying expensive camera equipment, so you'll
end up spending $300 on a camera bag that has been carefully crafted and
designed to look like it cost $25.  Of course, everyone else carrying $7,500
worth of Leica equipment will have the same bag, but that doesn't bother

Then some poor soul will be desperate to make his house payments and you buy
his black paint M6 LHSA limited edition just to be a friend -- and because
the deal was too good to pass up.  Black paint fever strikes, and you
rapidly acquire an M6 Millenium, M2 black paint, and have your original M3
repainted in black enamel.  Three weeks later you realize that your chrome
90mm lens looks silly on a black painted M3, and you buy another M3 (in
chrome) to have a matching set.

Your interest in macro-photography is suddently awoken when someone shows
you the pictures they took of the wife's petunias in the back yard.  You
just know that your wife would love some shots of her petunias too, so you
decide to get a small macro outfit, just the essentials.  Of course, the M
system is notoriously difficult to use with macro stuff, but that doesn't
stop you from acquiring an entire Visoflex IIa system, until you realize
that what you really need is the R8 and 100mm f/2.8 APO-Macro-Elmarit-R with
the 60mm f/2.8 Macro-Elmarit-R just as a back-up.  For a while you have the
idea of chasing insects with the 180mm f/2.8 APO-Elmarit-R, 2x APO extender
and a Macro-Adaptor-R, but you realize that the whole thing is just too
impossible to hand-hold.  Again, switching lenses becomes a pain (not to
mention winding on the film), so you buy another R8 and two motordrives.

Of course, with the R8, you now have the perfect platform for taking those
great telephoto shots of shy animals in the treeline close to where you
live, and they're such cute animals so you're practically guaranteed to win
some major award, or make a killing in the stock photography market.  You
use this to justify the purchase of a $3,000 280mm f/2.8 lens which you
consider to be an increadibly good deal, because the guy selling it threw in
a $400 122mm front UV filter with the deal, but you'd never actually use the
UV filter, because now you've become obsessed with the image-degrading
qualities it can have.

> Will I become a Leica snob?

Without a doubt.  In fact, already now you're trying to find faults with the
Bessa-R or the Contax G, and will in a few weeks time be able to construct
half-hour long arguments as to why you need to spend as much on one Leica
body as you could on acquiring an entire Pentax K camera system.

> Should I go to school, become a dentist, and then retire before gettig one?

No.  You will not be able to afford an education once you buy that first M6.

Welcome to the gang!



- -- 
Martin Howard                     |       Flawed beauty is much more
Visiting Scholar, CSEL, OSU       |               interesting
email:         |          than perfect beauty
www:        +---------------------------------------